Tobacco ban could be tough to implement

Earlier no smoking in public diktat went unheeded

A case for implementing a ban on tobacco products in Delhi is pending before the High Court, and the government has also indicated that it is giving a serious thought to it. The ban was proposed following a Central government regulation.

But looking at the fact that bans on smoking in public places and use of polythene have not yielded results, this ban also seems to be just a promise with the department of prevention of food adulteration being staffed by only 70 employees.

Delhi government implemented the ban on smoking in public places on October 2, 2008.
Statistics show that after three-and-a-half years, 7.54 lakh places were raided and 1.4 lakh people challaned. The government took action against 6,200 tobacco sellers.

But Delhi’s public areas are still not smoke-free, even though the government treasury earned more than Rs 90 lakh in the process.

Fine imposed

Similarly, after a High Court order the city government banned buying, selling and using polythene bags on January 7, 2009.

The government also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 to Rs 1 lakh on the defaulters.

As this remained an ineffective strategy to curb the use of plastic, the government also banned production of polythene bags on November 5, 2011 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

But one can still see rampant use of polythene bags in the city.

The per day sale of tobacco products accounts for nearly Rs 2 crore in Delhi.

It seems difficult for the Delhi government to ban an industry worth Rs 600 crore in which at leat 20 brands are involved.

President of the Delhi medical association said 20 per cent of the Delhiites consume tobacco.

A lot of tobacco is being brought from the adjoining states like Uttar Pradesh.

He added that the state government has to keep an eye on the import of the-se products from the neighbouring states.

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